Scientists Find a New Method of Extracting Vitamins from Plants

Scientists of South Ural State University have developed and patented a unique method of extracting useful substances from berries and plants using ultrasound and freeze drying. Unlike the traditional technology, the new method is ten thousand times faster. It is important that the obtained extracts preserve the maximum of their beneficial properties and could be widely used in food industry.

“For several years now, we’ve been working on elaborating a complex approach, which would allow to extract and, to the maximum extent, preserve, in the form of dry extract, the bioactive substances, which raw materials contain. We’ve been polishing this technology using berries as raw material, as it is well known that, for instance cranberries and honeysuckle berries are rich in vitamins and useful substances,” shares Head of the SUSU Department of Food and Biotechnology Irina Potoroko.

Photo: Irina Potoroko, Head of the SUSU Department of Food and Biotechnology

The new method is unique thanks to the combinatorial approach.

“We take the initial berry raw material and extract juice from it by direct pressing. The juice is freeze dried. And quite a lot of bioactive substances remain in the cake meal. At stage two, we mix this meal with water and process it with ultrasound. Ultrasound allows to extract the bioactive substances. During this process we control the temperature, so that it does not rise above 45°С. The liquid extract, obtained under the exposure to ultrasound, is also freeze dried. At the final stage, we mix it into the freeze-died juice. As a result, we get the dry extract,” explains of the of patent’s authors Irina Kalinina, Associate Professor of the SUSU Department of Food and Biotechnology.

The scientists of South Ural State University managed to solve the task on reducing the time required for the production of the dry extract from several days (as in the standard technology) to several minutes. Moreover, the majority of the traditional methods of obtaining extracts from plant raw materials imply high-temperature drying. But this method practically does not allow to preserve any vitamins or mineral substances, and the process itself takes much time. In the technology suggested by the SUSU scientists, the temperature does not exceed 45°С during the whole process, so the bioactive substances are preserved.

“The proposed method of obtaining the extract also allows to ensure the disinfection of the product without exposing it to thermal treatment. In addition, the suggested method helps reduce the process cycle of obtaining the water-soluble extract and ensure that the bioactive substances are preserved in it. That is especially important for further use of this extract in food industry, for instance, when producing beverages, confectionery, bakery, diary, meat products and other foods,” shares Irina Kalinina.

A patent was obtained for the technology of dry extract production developed by the scientists of South Ural State University. The developers are planning on implementing this method in food industry enterprises in Chelyabinsk and the Chelyabinsk Region. The technology could be used both in mini plants and in big-capacity enterprises for solving the problems of processing plant raw materials and using these for manufacturing products, while extracting and preserving the bioactive substances to the maximum.

Olga Romanovskaia, photo by: Viktoria Matveichuk, Oleg Igoshin
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